300 Million People Want You to Know...
More than 300 million people on earth suffer from depression, and 800,000 people commit suicide every year. Read on to learn why, and how you can help.
Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, which leads to over 800,000 people committing suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year old's, even though there are various treatments for depression. One-fourth of the global population is not aware of their Mental Health. So here are some of the most common symptoms seen in people:
“I didn't want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that's really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you're so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
― Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story
Mental Health is as Important as Physical Health
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
When our bodies are unhealthy, we go to the doctor. Even if it's something as insignificant as a cold. We don't ignore it, do we? We are completely aware of the fact that we should keep our bodies safe and always take good care of them. But when it comes to our mind, we don't care as much. We refuse to recognize that our minds are our primary resource, often more essential to our survival than our bodies, even!
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss
The fact is that the body and the mind go hand in hand. Our mind is our ultimate destination for peace and calm. If you’re crippled at the very first step, how will you move ahead? Anything from poor physical health to discomfort in an emotional relationship can mess with your mental health. Even your relationship with yourself matters.
“I have been living with myself for 35 years and that’s the relationship I need to work on.”Samantha Jones (Sex and the City)
A rendezvous with yourself is really important. It gives you peace. As the saying goes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Apply this to your mind, disturbance to the peace in your mind is a threat to peace in your whole body.
If we aren’t afraid of talking about our headache, then why do we hesitate before identifying the pain in our minds?
If you feel any kind of mental discomfort, sense a pensive sadness, or experience frequent suicidal thoughts, then, before taking a large step, try talking. Is talking that hard? Trust me, only getting your mouth to open in front of someone is. After this, the relief you’re likely to experience from unburdening your mind can make you ecstatic.
“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation
We need to start talking about everything that disrupts our peace, even if our friends may not be able to relate. These conversations have a different purpose: Expression. Just try to express your emotions like you express love to someone.
We may feel, sometimes, that it's the end of the world. But trust me, it’s just a phase that will pass, like rain leading to a rainbow.
My request to you is, before you lose your peace of mind, learn its real value. It’s at the apex of your body’s functioning, it guides your thoughts, gives you the power to be rational, and informs your decisions. Your body, your work, your relationships - the status of all is dependent on the status of your mind.
I have many friends who have openly announced their struggle with depression. Following is a small discussion I had with a dear friend of mine in India who is in her mid-30s.
She believes that depression is characterized by a loud, pensive sadness. Her lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities led her to believe that she is clinically depressed. Here is her journey:
Q1: When and how did you realize you were depressed?
I realized in 2016 that I suffer from depression. As I told you earlier, I didn’t know how it happened, but my family made me notice my lack of interest in day to day activities. Waking up in the morning was becoming a herculean task. I didn’t care enough to go to work every day. I generally lost interest in life, meeting people or even talking to friends.
Q2: How did your family/friends react to it? Were they supportive?
I am blessed. My friends and family were supportive and gave me my space. But they were always there when I needed them. Their emotional support was invaluable.
Q3: Are you taking any professional help?
Yes, I sought a therapist’s help. In India, every fourth adult suffers from depression. But the people have started to be aware now. There’s no stigma attached to this illness.
Q4: How important is it for the person to take professional help?
Medical and Professional help is required depending on the severity of the condition. Medicines help restore chemical imbalances and therapists equip you with strategies to cope with life when you feel helpless.
Q5: What advice would you give to someone who is in depression?
Don't feel helpless. You are not alone. Seek help from family and friends, visit a doctor, take your medication. You will feel like a fighter. Depression is a big battle to fight, but with proper support, you can live a normal life.
I believe she was one of the lucky ones that were supported through this tough time, but I could be completely wrong. What do you think? Do you believe those who do not come forward do so because they are apprehensive about being supported, or is it something more? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Explore sexual wellbeing
Join our email list to receive our top stories and the best podcasts in sexual wellbeing from around the world.